Weekly Underdog Best Bet
Each week of the NFL season, we’ll post what we believe to be the best underdog bet on the board. Our goal is to have this recommended bet posted by Friday night each week, but it’s always good to check back Sunday morning in case we run into late-breaking news or have an additional play.
The weekly prediction will usually be against the spread but may be a money line bet if the situation warrants. We’ll always post a short analysis to support our pick as well! Always beware of any website or sports service that doesn’t give reasons why they’re making a play. Lots of coin flippers out there!
Week 3 (9/22 through 9/26): New England Patriots +3. The Ravens are banged up on both sides of the ball. Despite the exciting game we witnessed last week against the Dolphins, Baltimore isn’t really a good team right now. Bill Belichick will neutralize one of Baltimore’s two main weapons and they won’t be able to produce. On offense, the Pats are likely to pass the ball a lot. Baltimore’s secondary was exposed badly last week and you better believe New England’s coaching staff is going to take advantage of it. I’m predicting the Patriots win in an ugly/boring game.
Week 2 (9/15 through 9/19): Jacksonville Jaguars +3 (Won 24-0). Rough spot for the Colts with multiple injuries to key positions. Michael Pittman will sit with a quad issue and Alec Pierce will sit as well. DeForest Buckner and Kenny Moore are banged up too. More importantly, the Jaguars have owned the Colts in Florida. Unbelievably, the Jags have beaten the Colts six straight times at home. Indy hasn’t won on the Jags home field since 2014. I’m not a trends guy, but I’m not about to fade that action!
Week 1 (9/8 through 9/12): New York Giants +5.5. (Won straight up 21-20) New coach, upgraded offensive line, and a healthy Saquon Barkley. The situation has changed for the better in New York and not so much for Tennessee. The G-Men have a shot of winning this game straight up.
Blindly Betting Underdogs Does Not Work!
Having been in the sports betting industry since the late 1990s, you wouldn’t believe some of the conversions I’ve had with people. A common misconception is that people think they’re getting extra value by betting on an underdog. This is a failed assumption! Keep in mind that no two teams are equal. There’s almost always some sort of margin in talent, coaching, athleticism, chemistry, etc., which is why the point spread is in play in the first place. It could be said that a point spread is an equalizer. It creates an imaginary even environment between two teams that aren’t really even at all. Each game needs to be viewed as an individual occurrence. I could write a lengthy book about all the variables that go into handicapping an NFL game, so I can’t explain it all here, but in a nutshell, some underdogs offer way more value than others. Oftentimes, the most valuable variable has to do with public perception. The bookies use psychology when making lines. They know who most bettors are going to wager on before they even hit the window. With that said, we use our expertise to sort out the value plays from the junk and post the dog with the highest likelihood of winning each week.
How Often Do Underdogs Win in the NFL?
Underdogs have covered the spread at a rate of 52% from 2006 through 2021. These stats support the notion that if you bet on every underdog, you will break even over the long term, as football betting odds are generally -110 at most sportsbooks. If you bet on games at -110 odds, your break-even point is 52.38%. It should be noted that there will be variance from year to year, but the long term proves to be a break-even proposition. There’s no joy in running 20 steps forward today and then running 20 steps backward tomorrow, only to find yourself in the same position!
For those wondering about the value of HOME underdogs, as tasty as it sounds, it’s a losing proposition. Those bets only hit at a clip of 48.62%, which, needless to say, would have put you in the poorhouse and have your bookie driving the latest model Cadillac! Note: Road underdogs covered 53.72% from 2006-2021, but that’d be one heck of a grind betting on games for 15 years, and there’s no guarantee that those figures will continue to provide a minuscule profit.